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Changes in agonist neural drive, hypertrophy and pre-training strength all contribute to the individual strength gains after resistance training

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posted on 23.03.2017, 11:48 by Tom Balshaw, Garry J. Massey, Thomas M. Maden-Wilkinson, Antonio J. Morales-Artacho, Alexandra McKeown, Clare L. Appleby, Jonathan Folland
© 2017 The Author(s)Purpose: Whilst neural and morphological adaptations following resistance training (RT) have been investigated extensively at a group level, relatively little is known about the contribution of specific physiological mechanisms, or pre-training strength, to the individual changes in strength following training. This study investigated the contribution of multiple underpinning neural [agonist EMG (QEMGMVT), antagonist EMG (HEMGANTAG)] and morphological variables [total quadriceps volume (QUADSVOL), and muscle fascicle pennation angle (QUADSθp)], as well as pre-training strength, to the individual changes in strength after 12 weeks of knee extensor RT. Methods: Twenty-eight healthy young men completed 12 weeks of isometric knee extensor RT (3/week). Isometric maximum voluntary torque (MVT) was assessed pre- and post-RT, as were simultaneous neural drive to the agonist (QEMGMVT) and antagonist (HEMGANTAG). In addition QUADSVOL was determined with MRI and QUADSθp with B-mode ultrasound. Results: Percentage changes (∆) in MVT were correlated to ∆QEMGMVT (r = 0.576, P = 0.001), ∆QUADSVOL (r = 0.461, P = 0.014), and pre-training MVT (r = −0.429, P = 0.023), but not ∆HEMGANTAG (r = 0.298, P = 0.123) or ∆QUADSθp (r = −0.207, P = 0.291). Multiple regression analysis revealed 59.9% of the total variance in ∆MVT after RT to be explained by ∆QEMGMVT (30.6%), ∆QUADSVOL (18.7%), and pre-training MVT (10.6%). Conclusions: Changes in agonist neural drive, quadriceps muscle volume and pre-training strength combined to explain the majority of the variance in strength changes after knee extensor RT (~60%) and adaptations in agonist neural drive were the most important single predictor during this short-term intervention.

Funding

This study was supported financially by the Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise, and Osteoarthritis (Grant reference 20194).

History

School

  • Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences

Published in

European Journal of Applied Physiology

Pages

1 - 10

Citation

BALSHAW, T.G. ...et al., 2017. Changes in agonist neural drive, hypertrophy and pre-training strength all contribute to the individual strength gains after resistance training. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 117 (4), pp. 631–640.

Publisher

© The Authors. Published by Springer.

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/

Publication date

2017

Notes

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Springer under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

ISSN

1439-6319

Language

en

Licence

Exports